Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Word 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Word, click here: Can't Select and Edit Graphics Elements.

Can't Select and Edit Graphics Elements

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated May 23, 2014)


Felicity noted that until yesterday, when inserting graphics, text boxes, WordArt, and etc. into her documents she was able to view, select, and manipulate them in Print Layout view. Now the only view in which they show is in print preview, and when I select one of the items, all the editing and formatting tools are grayed out. Felicity is wondering why she can't work with these items as she previously did.

It sounds like the problem is that the Picture Placeholders setting has been turned on. You can control this setting in this manner:

  1. Choose Options from the Tools menu. Word displays the Options dialog box.
  2. Make sure the View tab is displayed. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The View tab of the Options dialog box.

  4. Make sure the Picture Placeholders check box is cleared.
  5. Click on OK.

Your pictures should now again be accessible as you are editing your document.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (10355) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Word (Word 2007 and later) here: Can't Select and Edit Graphics Elements.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...


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What is five less than 8?

2011-11-08 01:50:41



i used to be able to edit images in word in the past. However, now when i right clicj on the image, the edit picture option is greyed out. what happened?

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